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Review of Pen y Fedw, Monmouthshire, Wales

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Posted by Lucy Symons at 03:35 on Friday 01 March 2013

In the depths of the lovely Monmouthshire countryside you will find Pen y Fedw, a beautifully refurbished 1950’s cottage on the Rolls Estate, perfect for a romantic getaway.

Pen y Fedw Cottage, photo supplied by Caroine MacDonaldPen y Fedw Cottage, photo supplied by Caroine MacDonaldThe Setting
Pen y Fedw is perfectly situated in peaceful Monmouthshire countryside between the Wye Valley and the Black Mountains (both designated as protected landscapes – so bring your camera).  10 minutes from Monmouth, it is accessible but isolated.

>> For availability and booking, see our full listing for Pen y Fedw

The Accommodation
Pen y Fedw is a recently refurbished annexe of a 1950s cottage updated to accommodate a couple, plus baby if you are so encumbered, and up to 2 dogs. The owners (who live in the house attached) converted the annexe themselves using local people and local resources and vintage furniture where allowed by fire regulations.  Situated on the Rolls Estate it is at once contemporary and stylish, yet comfortable and cozy.  Downstairs is a single open-plan, oak-floored space: comprised of a snug sitting-area with a wood burner, a dining area, and a sleek kitchen. There is also a downstairs shower room with utility area. In the winter, the wood burner keeps this room toasty; in the summer, folding glass doors open the whole room into the sheltered sun-trap patio, complete with BBQ. There’s a big double bedroom upstairs with a roll-top bath – fill it up and lounge here, you’ll have amazing views from every window, with woodland to one side and rolling farmland to the other.Kitchen Pen y Fedw Cottage, Monmouthshire.  Photo:  Michael WhitesideKitchen Pen y Fedw Cottage, Monmouthshire. Photo: Michael Whiteside

 

The Food
This area is heaving with excellent restaurants, gastro pubs, brasseries, and local pubs. Abergavenny, 15 minutes from Pen y Fedw, is, not surprisingly, the home of the famous Abergavenny Food Festival, an annual event in September. There are local and very good farmers’ markets nearby.

Pen y Fedw, Monmouthshire, Wales Photo provided by Caroline MacDonaldPen y Fedw, Monmouthshire, Wales Photo provided by Caroline MacDonaldThe Activities
What do you feel like doing, because you can pretty much call the shots from Pen y Fedw:  fancy a bit of canoeing?  Strolling along a riverside?  Feeling hearty/slightly mad? Leap in and indulge in some wild swimming… or perhaps just partake of a little light hill-walking, pony trekking, or mountain-biking. There is a huge network of footpaths in the area, so you can set off from Pen y Fedw, to conquer nearby Offa's Dyke. Or jump on a bike (there are a couple to borrow) and meander along ancient country lanes, discovering the local pubs (you’d better try the beer… just in case) or have a nose around someone else’s garden open under the National Garden Scheme.

If history’s more your thing, why not track down one of the many dramatic Norman castles (White Castle is nearby) which stood guard over this previously contentious area; have a quick pray at any of the abundance of parish churches and abbeys; stroll around the local market towns, or visit the very contrasting cities of Hereford and Cardiff.  For the bibliophile, Hay-on-Wye is within striking distance, and even for those who don’t read, Hay-on-Wye is worth a look, as it has cleverly escaped the infection of homogenous chain shops, instead boasting lovely independent boutiques, galleries, antique shops, and the inevitable second-hand book stores.

I don’t think I should leave out the fact that less than a mile from Pen y Fedw is the Rolls of Monmouth Golf Club. Its championship lay-out is situated in the shadow of an imposing Victorian Gothic manor house (with its origins as an 18th-century 'shooting box'), once the home of Charles Stewart Rolls, a co-founder of Rolls-Royce.  

Bath tub Pen y Fedw Cottage, Monmouthshire.  Photo:  Michael WhitesideBath tub Pen y Fedw Cottage, Monmouthshire. Photo: Michael WhitesideThe Green 
Pen y Fedw was converted with the environment in mind, using only ethically-sourced, green products (one of the owners is a leading campaigner on environmental issues). It is heated by a wood burner.

How to get there by public transport
The owners will collect you from Monmouth station as the local public transport is fairly dire.  Once here, you may want to just bed in for the duration, run a bath and clamber in…  but should you wish to venture out, with careful planning you can use the grass routes bus and be car free.  (There’s a private driveway near the separate entrance if you can’t resist bringing your car)

Top Tip
Make reservations for a few dinners out at the local restaurants before you get here – they are super popular and tend to book up. Order your Waitrose delivery to be waiting for you when you arrive (the owners will provide you with fresh flowers and homebaked bread…).

Verdict
This little spot is totally baby and dog friendly.  It is the perfect spot if you need a fix of country living, but don’t want to stint on any of life’s little luxuries…

>> For availability and booking, see our full listing for Pen y Fedw

See the photos from Lucy's visit on our Pinterest board for Pen y Fedw

The beautiful countryside at Pen y FedwThe beautiful countryside at Pen y Fedw

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